Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dear You...

Dear Blog...
You are looking so pretty right now. I think this is the loveliest I've ever seen you and I think this look is around to stay... at least for a good long while. :D

Dear Spring...
Please come soon. I'm languishing here and in need of warm breezes and fresh flowers!

Dear age 22...
Goodness. You're just around the bend and I don't know if I even got used to 21 yet.

Dear Driveway...
You know, you've come in really handy the past few months and I'm thrilled with myself for working up to being able to walk up and down you eight times in a row.

Dear Future Home Buyer...
You're just going to love our beautiful log home. I'm so excited for you and can't wait to finally meet you at last, to see who will carry on the process of filling this place with love and laughter.

Dear Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Hydrogenated Oils,
I am not missin' you one bit and I feel better and healthier than I have in years, I haven't been this slim since I was eighteen and I'm not planning on going back... those fourteen pounds I shed are gone for good and I couldn't be happier about that.

Dear Netflix...
I think you're my new favorite time vacuum. *sigh* I just need to practice some moderation in regards to all you have to offer! ;) Although I'm supremely grateful for all the great family entertainment you're providing.

Dear Jewelry Supplies...
I am really looking forward to hauling you back out and whipping up some delightful, daring, demure, and dazzling new pieces to sell in the shop this Spring! Wheeeee! This'll be so fun! :D

Dear Digital Scrapbooking Elements...
You have no idea, but many of you are about to be utilized in creating some happy-dance-inducing "I Love It!" Free blog backgrounds just in time for all the bloggers out there about to give their beloved sites a makeover. Just wait and see!

And Dear You...
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I love my followers and feel blessed to be able to share bits and pieces of my little life with you. And I always love hearing back from you in return! *big wink* The comment section is now open!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Exciting Spring Shopping Discount!

Hey Readers!

I am delighted to announce that has given me a special promo code just for YOU!

To refresh your memory, I reviewed a dress from eShakti last Autumn that I had custom-fitted. It was beautiful and I was thrilled with it!

The amazing thing about eShakti is that not only can you custom-fit the dress of your choice, you can also custom-style it. they have an astonishing amount of options to change the styles around. For example, the picture below is of the same dress, customized different ways!

You have complete control over the neckline, sleeves, and hem length for almost every dress! :)

So here's the fun part:

A special discount code, JEWELSBYJL, exclusively created for my readers, will allow you to get 20% OFF when you shop at - valid from 02/26/13 through 03/10/13.

Note: (*conditions apply)
Code has to be entered in the 'Promotional Code' box. No Minimum Order Value. The discount code is not case sensitive. The code can be used any number of times until the validity period. This code can be clubbed with any other gift coupon or gift card in the same order. This discount code is not applicable on our Overstock category. Not applicable on previous purchases. 

I think you seriously need to go check out their new Spring Line and find yourself the perfect adorable dress! :) You have plenty of time to shop, the offer is good until March 10th, 2013.

I've also been offered another of their products to review and was told to pick out three choices, and that they'd send me my second or third choice if they were out of fabric for my first. Want to see what I picked out?

My first choice! The Aurora dress with Dahlia crinoline. 
My second choice-  the Feather Print Shirtdress
And my third choice- the Floral Porcelain Cotton dress
They are all so pretty, but I am hoping for my first choice. :) I can't wait until it gets here and I can try it on! :D

Hey, just for fun, why don't you come back here after you're done browsing the beautiful clothes on and tell me which dress was your favorite?

Have fun shopping!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Little Lessons Everywhere

Today's post will be short, I have a lot to do today.

*is called away from the computer, never comes back to this internet tab, then finally finds it again at 6:00PM and laughs at the irony* Short indeed... and never posted. Oh well! Better late than never. :D

I notice sometimes that little things strike me in a powerful way if I'm on the lookout for them. Kind of like searching for wildflowers while you're driving down the highway. You'd never notice them unless you happened to look out the window at just the right moment to see that little flash of color along the roadside.

The other day I was bemoaning on Facebook that we couldn't watch two things at once on Netflix (after one of my brothers happened to be watching Star Trek and I was in the mood for White Collar) and then a friend said that they watched different things at once all the time.

Lo and behold, I tried it, and it worked.

Ding-dong! A life lesson is at the door! :)

Next time, I need to actually try something out to see if it works before complaining about it. :D The reason I thought we couldn't view two things at once (which spoils us rotten anyway... not being of great import) was because I had been told so by mom when she was scanning the terms of use on Netflix. (Now I think perhaps it actually said you couldn't watch the same movie/show at once on two computers.)


I am challenging myself this week to see if I can get a specific list of goals done each day. So far I'm on track. Would you like to see the list? (I know you would, you good-and-nosy little blog reader, you...)

This week, I shall attempt to:

*Eat Completely Clean
*Walk 8 times up and down the 1/4-mile driveway
*Read my Bible and fill out a Lifejournal entry
*Drink a huge glass of water in the morning and more throughout the day
*Go to sleep before 10:30PM
*Get up at precisely 8:00AM
*Write and schedule one short blog post

...Every day. Let's see how I do! :)

P.s. I will be back soon with the Bagel Recipe. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just Fine, and How Are You?

Hey Gang! That is, readers. Friends, followers, and lurkers, I greet you all!

Life has been pretty humdrum-ho-hum for me the past few weeks. After the crazy rush of prepping the house, traveling to Alabama for the Lego Brickfair convention, and a few sporadic, frenetic "QUICK-CLEAN THE HOUSE-WE HAVE A SHOWING!!!" sessions, I haven't actually had much going on.

Me? NOT busy? What is this world coming to? ;)

It got to the point where I started feeling crabby after a few sweet people asked me "So what are you doing/what have you been up to?" (not crabby while I was talking to them. I'm always nice when I talk to people.) *grin* - and it shocked me. Why was I so annoyed that I didn't have some smooth answer to give them?

I am not justified by what I'm doing. My busy schedule (or lack thereof) doesn't make me any more of a person than someone who has less things on their to-do list and calendar. I am not a more valuable human if I can rattle off an impressive number of extremely interesting activities I've been involved with lately.

That being said, once I sat down to think about it, I have been doing some neat stuff. :) Besides the usual routine of cooking our delicious meals, washing the dishes and laundry that five adults generate, and keeping the house bee-yoo-ti-ful (or at least cleanable-within-fifteen-minutes) I...

I changed my profile picture on facebook! WHEW! Huge accomplishment there! *wipes sweat from brow*

I painted my fingernails silver... (The reason you only see two is because the others were chipped by the time I got around to taking a picture of them) 

I have been enjoying the GORGEOUS winter sunsets we've had while the leaves are bare outside our back porch that faces west.

I (and Mama, we make a great team) successfully made the most delicious, healthy, scrumptious, 100% whole-wheat bagels you've ever seen. I very much enjoyed learning the secret to these yummy baked goods and have savored having one for breakfast every day, generously spread with cream cheese. ;)
Besides these fun things, I've been working on some blog and graphic design for two good friends that happen to contribute to the devotional blog I wrote for. And I've been brainstorming some new free backgrounds to put on my blog backgrounds site! Hint.... they will look something like this:
And this:
And last but DEFINITELY not least, I have been trying some new workout routines! Which are working fabulously and are oh-so-fun into the bargain. But more on that in my next post. Stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham, Part Two.

I always feel so bad about disappointing my blog readers. You, the faithful ones, who enjoy reading what I have to say, are often left hanging until I gather my absentminded self together and actually churn out a post. I was talking to my sweet Grandma Pat on speakerphone with my family the other evening and she told me she hadn't seen anything come through on my blog for a while... and with a cringe, I realized that the blog posts I've been planning in my head hadn't actually gotten written yet. :P 

Sometimes I just need a little motivation! :D 

Without further ado, I bring you... the pictures from our delightful afternoon at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. 
I think this was the first photo I took after hopping out of the car. These are the main buildings of the garden center.

The gardens are completely free of charge to visit, which we greatly appreciated - and they're really close to the zoo, which I heard is also free. Be sure to check these places out if you're ever visiting Birmingham!

I love my parents. :D Daddy pushed Mama in her wheelchair so that she wouldn't have to tire out her joints... "Besides," he joked, "I can use the exercise!" This picture is just outside the gift shop, which we saved for last, touring the gardens first.

There was still frost and ice lingering in the shady nooks and crannies from the snow that had fallen 2 days before we'd arrived in Alabama.

I was photographing ice on a  bench when I happened to spot this tiny plaque. It tugged at my heartstrings. How precious to be always remembered as "A devoted wife"!

I loved the architecture of the buildings!

You walk under this bridge to enter the gardens proper. 

I walked around the back of this fountain to get better light for this shot - the sculpture was so cool. Water trickled down the textured stone sides from the tops of these curvy pillars.
I would love to come back to see these English rose gardens in full bloom... one could only imagine the profusion of flowers! 

These pretty flowers hide their faces, growing in a drooping position.

Much of the plants in the gardens were dormant for the winter, but I found hidden beauties here and there to photograph. It was like my own private treasure hunt. 

I stooped down to catch a glimpse of the 'freckled' petals on this flower.

There was so much to explore! Paths led in every direction. 

Each one led to new discoveries. 

We stopped at a very pretty sage-green gazebo for a quick photoshoot. :)

Don't my mommy and daddy make an adorable couple?

Winter-blooming camellias added pops of color here and there!

They were lovely.
It was a very peaceful place with benches everywhere in case you wanted to sit and relax.

The entrance to the Japanese rock gardens! (It looked JUST like the one on the computer game we used to play called Zoo Tycoon, where you could create your own zoo and landscape it...) Lol!

Early blooming cherry trees!

Daddy taking a picture with his iPhone of the stream. 

This part of the gardens looked the best for the wintry season, because even though the trees were bare, the sculptural beauty of the rocks still showed. 

A large rock slab made a natural bridge across this little streambed!

It was really gorgeous.

Tucked inside the gardens was a large pond.

One of several bridges that connected different sections of the garden.

The pond. Enormous Koi fish swam in the jade-green water. 

A long zig-zag bridge spanned the center of the pond. 

So picturesque!

These rocks stood like little floating islands in the middle of the water.

I think this might have been my favorite part of the place. Oh, except for the blooming camellias... more on those later!

Bamboo arched overhead.

The trees were all so graceful, despite being barren of foliage. 

Annnnd back to the rock slab. :D

This fuzzy grass-like plant was so much prettier in real life...  In the background you can see yet another gazebo, still  with a little snow on the mossy roof. 

This might be my favorite photo of the day. I love the soft shading of the background...

Tiny hemlock pinecones! They were doll-sized! So cute.

No idea what this was. Some kind of mutant pussywillow? Cool though!

More blooming cherries! So early, but just in time for our visit. :)

*sigh* It gave me a blissful hope that Spring was on its way. 

The camellias were just. so. beautiful. 

I also enjoyed the few brightly-colored poppies we spotted around one corner!

In a warm, sunny spot, a few foxgloves (or possibly snapdragons?) 

So pretty! You'd never guess this photo was taken in January. 

Yum. I think I got some bokeh on this one.  (little spots of light)

I loved the speckled 'throats' of these flowers!

This is the exterior of the large greenhouse. It looked amazing but to our disappointment it was closed off with chains and a padlock. A printed sign  on the door stated "closed for repairs until further notice" but we saw that the trees were pushing up against the roof and several panes of glass were broken. I do hope they eventually restore it.

Now this was neat. A random gigantic round thing.

I dubbed it "The sphere of amazingness." 
Outside the main buildings, a gorgeous courtyard. I wanted to take these chairs home, they were so pretty.

A reflecting pool!

I spied this birds' nest in a holly bush. 

This waterfall bubbled and gurgled outside the gardens' library - it was full of books on gardening and plants. We spent some time there reading.

And in the middle of this lettuce garden, a giant iron rabbit stood guard! It was about four feet long. 

 Instead of buying anything at the gift shop, I just took pictures of the things I liked...
Like this owl ring! (A little big for my tastes, but so neat.)
I really almost bought these owl earrings, but couldn't make myself pay $14 for  something I could make myself if I had the right beads... :D 

This hand-blown glass bowl rose up in the middle like transparent mountains. I can't imagine what you'd use it for but it was awesome. 
Hope you enjoyed the post!